I must be one of the few people to say triumphantly ‘I liked it.’ With the tremendous hype building up before the movie was released, I thought I must wait and see it in a marvelous theater in Chennai . But after all the negative hype following its release I thought seeing it in a lil’ theater in Ooty should be enough and I should see it fast before every good scene gets relayed on TV.
It’s a simple love story and behind that, the idea of shades of grey in each man. At times, it’s the good that surfaces and at others, it’s the bad. It depends on the place, situation state of mind. In a forest, with few social mores to tie down a person, and in a time of stress, what will surface? This is the idea coursing through the movie . Good running to bad and bad running to good.
Veera is the bad, brutish villanish brigand living and hiding in the forest. He kidnaps Ragini, wife of upright police officer Dev. And Veera falls for pretty Ragini. But what attracts him is her fearlessness, a quality both of them share. And from that moment Veera starts changing, gets to be a better man.
While Prithivaraj as Dev is a man with a mission. To capture Veera. And he won’t be deviated by anything. Is this ego or devotion to duty? His darker side emerges as he pursues his goal – manipulation, ruthlessness, treachery.
Ragini or Sita stays herself. Courageous, incredibly beautiful, never say die attitude, straight as an arrow. Her ideas start slowly evolving and she looks at the world with a less clear cut view. In one scene she prays for her anger not to be taken away from her, because it is only anger and righteous indignation that can keep her fighting against her kidnappers. To see the good in the bad people, would be loosing herself.
Vikram as a man who is not afraid to show his love appeals to all the females, backed up his considerable screen charm and bravado. Not to mention his tough looks and good body. Does Ragini love him? We are left guessing. But in the end he disappears happy, confident that she does.
But nowhere can one identify with any of the characters.. they are far removed from average lives. A man who does not fear anything , even death and a woman to match. Can any of us think in this way? And maybe this is where Mani Ratnam loses audience interest.
Prabhu excels as the tough brother, Karthik is light and charming and the brief appearance of Ranjitha ignites a quiver of gossip and interest.
With the name ‘Ravana’ we expect parallels from the Ramayan and there are many. The kidnapping of Sita , 14 days in the forest , the introduction of Karthik as a charming monkey god lying across the road/gate when he meets Rama; the 10 heads of Ravana appear as a man with 10 different sides and even Surpanakai is present in the form of fiery PriyaMani.